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Lakeland Facility Sells for $10.4 Million

A Houston-based real estate investment trust has acquired a piece of Lakeland Interstate Business Park for $10.4 million.

Weingarten Realty Investors last week finalized its purchase of a 168,400-square-foot distribution facility at the business park, according to a press release. The building, at 2125 Interstate Drive, houses Acuity Brands, Carolina Logistics Services and Sunrise Medical.

The seller, Clearwater's Meridian Development Group, purchased the facility in August 2005 from Indianapolis-based Duke Realty Corp. for $7.3 million, according to the Lakeland Economic Development Council (LEDC).

"Three million dollars in a year and a half? I'd say that's a good indicator as far as how real estate values have increased in Lakeland," said Claudia Tritton, the LEDC's director of business development.

Steven Kossoff, Meridian's managing director, said the company acquired the building when it had just two tenants and later added California-based Sunrise, which uses the space as a local distribution center.

"We saw the value of Lakeland as a market we wanted to invest in because of its growth and its success in becoming a recognized logistical location for warehousers," said Kossoff, whose company owns and manages some 2 million square feet of warehouse and office space valued at more than $100 million.

Officials with Weingarten Realty Investors could not be reached for comment Tuesday. According to the publicly-traded company's Web site, Weingarten's portfolio includes more than 370 retail and industrial properties in 22 states totaling 47.5 million square feet.

Recent acquisitions include three shopping centers in Orlando and an industrial center in Tampa.

Among the recent additions to Lakeland Interstate Business Park are Keiser University's $8.1 million Lakeland campus and Coca-Cola Enterprises' 100,000-square-foot distribution center. Other tenants include Pepperidge Farm and GC Services, a call center that employs about 1,200 people.

The park was completed in 1987 and covers roughly 141 acres.

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